What is Headlight Restoration?
Having Headlights Restored
Headlight restoration, when done right, can mark the difference between a functional and dysfunctional headlight.
Did you know that faded headlights are in fact, illegal and unsafe?
In fact, vehicles with faded headlights won’t pass a roadworthy certificate.
This will deem the vehicle illegal for road use.
Opaque headlights will reduce your visibility at night up to a massive 75%.
Replacing headlights is expensive and in most cases not necessary.
Yes, you can fix them yourself, it’s also recommended that you find a professional car detailer to help you fix the problem.
But what does headlight restoration really mean?
WHY HEADLIGHTS DISCOLOUR
As vehicles age, the plastic headlight lenses deteriorate due to abrasion and permanent Headlight Restoration & Repair Specialists Our Technicians UV damage.
The headlights become a dirty yellow colour with an opaque surface.
This surface damage can dramatically reduce the light output and make headlights less effective if not treated early.
In climates like Brisbane, our tropical climate damages porous surfaces like the plastic that makes headlight lenses.
A common myth is that headlight deterioration happens on the inside of the lens. This is not true, the damage is all on the outside.
There are two different types of headlight lenses – Plastic and Glass.
Glass headlight lenses do not deteriorate like plastic, but they chip and crack and need replacing.
In the ’90s glass headlights were phased out and replaced with polycarbonate so the only glass headlights are on older-style cars
Headlights on virtually all cars are now made of polycarbonate. It is an extremely tough plastic that is also porous and discolors in UV rays. The fading that we see is called Oxidation, and this also occurs on the paintwork of our cars.
To prevent oxidization to the polycarbonate, headlight manufacturers apply a protective hard coating to the outside of the lens to seal and protect the headlight and plastic from discoloring.
Over time, this factory protective clear hard coat degrades (oxidizes) and needs to be removed entirely and replaced with another quality protective clear hard coat that lasts.
Benefits Of Headlight Restoration
Modern-day headlights are made from a polycarbonate plastic material. Even though this makes them sturdy and durable, the main downside is the oxidation that happens over time from UV rays
In warmer climates, this leads to cars needing headlight restoration more often than cars in cooler climates. Below are some of the main benefits of cleaning your headlights once you notice they’re dimming or turning yellowish.
- Enhance road safety: Dull and dim headlights means impaired vision while on the roads. If you do regular night driving, this is a safety concern.
- Help to maintain your car value: When there’s a fault in your car, the value goes down. To keep your car roadworthy, you will need to keep your headlights maintained.
- Saves you money: Restoring discolored headlights means fixing the ones that are already in place. This costs less than having to buy a new one from the stores.
- Improves your vehicle’s aesthetics: Dull and yellowish headlights give your car a boring look. However, by restoring the headlights, you can give your car a whole fresh appearance.
- Increase visibility: oxidized headlights dull the light that is being emitted. However, restoring the headlights will give you sharp new vision at night
What To Check For When Researching Headlight Restoration
Many low-cost headlight restoration services only remove the degraded factory protective clear coat.
This is polished off and it leaves the unprotected plastic lens bare.
Within months the unprotected headlights will start to discolor and develop ‘crazing’ or tiny cracks in the lens surface.
Doing this headlight restoration method removes all the protection that stops the lens from being damaged by UV rays.
The headlights are covered with this coating to protect it for this reason.
Doing machine buffing on your headlights is a short-term fix and will cause permanent damage to the lens as it is left unprotected.
Don’t Take Short Cuts
A correct Headlight Restoration is when the car detailer completely removes the old degraded factory clear coat. The headlight is lightly polished and then the surrounded areas of the car are masked up.
The headlights are sprayed with a protective coating and this cures to create a new protective clear coat that etches into the polycarbonate.
It creates a ‘rock hard’ protective clear coating which is also chemical resistant, non-yellowing, and lasts as long as brand new replacement headlights.
How To Restore Headlights
There are two ways to restoring your headlights.
One, you can do it yourself, or two, you can hire a professional car detailer.
If you are going to do it yourself, be sure to buy a proper kit.
There are some old wives’ tales for cleaning headlights, and one of those is that toothpaste is good for cleaning headlights.
Now, this method used to work on glass headlights. Toothpaste is gentle abrasive but should not rub any abrasives on your headlights as you are wearing down the much-needed sealant that protects the lens.
When the coating is damaged it needs to be removed entirely and replaced. Don’t add further damage with a mild abrasive like toothpaste
We recommend you find a car detailing specialist to help you out rather than trying to do it yourself
But If you decide to do it yourself, here are the steps to take;
You will need to buy a headlight restoration kit before you start.
- Wash the car.
- Tape up the edges surrounding the headlight.
- Use sandpaper to remove the cloudiness on the surface
- Use the supplied polish to smooth out the lenses.
- Apply any supplied final coatings and follow the instructions
Wrapping it up
Keep your car roadworthy and provide better night vision while you are driving by getting a specialist to check them out and advise you appropriately.
Once you notice your headlights are dim, foggy, have a dull haze, or are turning yellowish, this would be the signal to book your car in for a car detail and headlight restoration service.
When you combine the 2 services, your car will look new again with polished paintwork and bright new headlights.
We are your local headlight restoration and repair experts. Please contact us to learn more about our car detailing Brisbane services